South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Kamla Bhasin, a quintessential South Asian

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, celebrates the life of Kamla Bhasin, a true South Asian in her thinking and actions, who passed away aged 75 on 25 September 2021. She was a member of SAHR since its inception, a former Bureau Member and continued to be an active member to the end. Through her regional activism, which was practical and effective at any social level in any country, Kamla Bhasin has left behind a lasting legacy. Her contribution to women’s rights in the region is monumental. She “weaponised” a multitude of women from different fields, activists, academics, lawyers, and WHRDs among them, in South Asia. Kamla’s month long training course in feminism thorough SANGAT, the South Asian feminist network, is conducted in several local languages in the region, in several countries providing access to knowledge that is invaluable for an activist. Whenever she visited a country in South Asia there were plenty of her trainees looking forward to meet her with eagerness and be inspired by her ebullient nature. She forged friendships and connections across the region through her activism and made all those who met her accessible to her feisty spirit in activism in return inspiring them. Her written work which has been translated into multiple languages, makes her vision and ideology easily accessible throughout the region. Kamla worked for non-violence and peace in South Asia and was part of several regional networks and organisations such as the SAAPE network, Park-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) and Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA) actively striving for it. She promoted the call for a borderless South Asia and held melas (festivals) promoting social integrity across Indian borders. In 2018, when SAHR invited her to be a delegate at the first Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore, she wholeheartedly accepted the invitation informing the Secretariat that she did not need a visa as she planned to cross the border. At the event, she said that the border crossing was so smooth and it felt like ‘returning home’ remembering her childhood in Panjab. SAHR learnt that even during her last stages of her life, with pain due to her acute health condition, she was committed to the causes she worked for. SAHR was fortunate to have Kamla’s guidance and support in all its regional activism. Especially, it has been a privilege to have fought against common regional issues and working to achieve peace, non-violence and equality along with her sharing her camaraderie and zest. Following are a collection of quotes commemorating Kamla’s life and her work from SAHR members, some who have known her personally and all who have worked with her in promoting peace and harmony in the region where women’s rights and equality are respected. This space on our website will be updated as and when new quotes are submitted.

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, celebrates the life of Kamla Bhasin, a true South Asian in her thinking and actions, who passed away aged 75 on 25 September 2021. She was a member of SAHR since its inception, a former Bureau Member and continued to be an active member to the end. Through her regional activism, which was practical and effective at any social level in any country, Kamla Bhasin has left behind a lasting legacy. Her contribution to women’s rights in the region is monumental. She “weaponised” a multitude of women from different fields, activists, academics, lawyers, and WHRDs among them, in South Asia. Kamla’s month long training course in feminism thorough SANGAT, the South Asian feminist network, is conducted in several local languages in the region, in several countries providing access to knowledge that is invaluable for an activist. Whenever she visited a country in South Asia there were plenty of her trainees looking forward to meet her with eagerness and be inspired by her ebullient nature. She forged friendships and connections across the region through her activism and made all those who met her accessible to her feisty spirit in activism in return inspiring them. Her written work which has been translated into multiple languages, makes her vision and ideology easily accessible throughout the region. Kamla worked for non-violence and peace in South Asia and was part of several regional networks and organisations such as the SAAPE network, Park-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) and Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA) actively striving for it. She promoted the call for a borderless South Asia and held melas (festivals) promoting social integrity across Indian borders. In 2018, when SAHR invited her to be a delegate at the first Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore, she wholeheartedly accepted the invitation informing the Secretariat that she did not need a visa as she planned to cross the border. At the event, she said that the border crossing was so smooth and it felt like ‘returning home’ remembering her childhood in Panjab. SAHR learnt that even during her last stages of her life, with pain due to her acute health condition, she was committed to the causes she worked for. SAHR was fortunate to have Kamla’s guidance and support in all its regional activism. Especially, it has been a privilege to have fought against common regional issues and working to achieve peace, non-violence and equality along with her sharing her camaraderie and zest. Following are a collection of quotes commemorating Kamla’s life and her work from SAHR members, some who have known her personally and all who have worked with her in promoting peace and harmony in the region where women’s rights and equality are respected. This space on our website will be updated as and when new quotes are submitted.